Health Inequities & Gaps in Care

Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When Joe Morris had a heart attack last Easter and had to be rushed to the ER, it was the first time he’d been to the doctor in more than 40 years — since high school.

Back home in the small community of Neosho, Mo., Morris needed follow-up care to manage his heart disease and diabetes, but he didn’t have a doctor — or insurance.


How Disease Rates Vary By State — And What States Can Do About It

Dec 13, 2016
Chris Bentley/via Flickr

By many measures, Hawaii is one of the healthiest states in the union. Yet only Mississippi has a higher rate of flu or pneumonia deaths than the Aloha State.

West Virginia, which is usually among the bottom dwellers in state health rankings, is in the middle of the pack when it comes to deaths related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Hospital Companions Can Ease Isolation For Older People

Nov 21, 2016

Loneliness can be a problem for older people, especially when they're in the hospital. Their children may have moved away. Spouses and friends may themselves be too frail to visit. So a California hospital is providing volunteer companions in the geriatric unit.

One of the volunteers at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica is 24-year-old Julia Torrano. She hopes to go to medical school. Meanwhile, her twice-weekly volunteer shifts give her a lot of practice working with patients.

For Immigrant Families, Mix Of Status And Low Income Makes Staying Healthy A Struggle

Jul 9, 2016
Mary Wiltenburg / For KHN

Some days, in the busy East Baltimore insurance agency where she works, saleswoman Nathaly Uribe takes nonstop calls from members of the city’s Latino community, looking to buy home and car protection plans. It’s an unspoken irony that the women in her office, who spend eight hours a day insuring others, don’t have health insurance themselves.

In 2014, the percentage of construction workers with health insurance increases from 64 to almost 69.
Jon Fleshman via Flickr / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Immigrants saw the steepest gains in health insurance coverage in 2014, the first year for enrollment on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges and Medicaid's expansion, according to a New York Times analysis of census data. Hispanics accounted for nearly one third of the increase in adults with insurance. A smaller percentage of blacks gained coverage, according to the Times, because most poor blacks live in states that chose not to expand Medicaid. 

For Native Americans, Health Care Is A Long, Hard Road Away

Apr 14, 2016

Cody Pedersen and his wife, Inyan, know that in an emergency they will have to wait for help to arrive.

Cody, 29, and his family live in Cherry Creek, a Native American settlement within the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in north central South Dakota.

The reservation is bigger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. But Cherry Creek has no general store, no gas station and few jobs.

Side-By-Side Kansas Counties Are Worlds Apart When It Comes To Health

Mar 21, 2016

At her home studio in Westwood, Kansas, yoga instructor Marilyn Pace leads a class of 5-to-8-year olds. With the help of songs, games and other kid-friendly teaching methods, she guides her small students through poses like the cobra, the triangle and the downward-facing dog.

Tatjana Alvegard takes her daughter, Kaya, to Pace’s classes regularly.

Downtown Waco, Texas, looking north.
city-data.com

A new initiative is working to create a data dashboard that almost any city could use to get a handle on the health of its citizens. City-level health data can be critical when it comes to measures like reducing smoking or deciding where to build new parks and health clinics. Yet most health data is collected at the county, not the city level. That means city leaders looking to improve residents’ health lack a baseline of information to work from.

The AIDS Crisis Hasn't Ended In The Black And Latino Communities

Feb 26, 2016

HIV rates have been on the decline in the U.S. for years now, but stark disparities remain, with some groups of people at high risk of infection.

Here's the good part: The number of people diagnosed annually has dropped by about 20 percent in the last decade.

The drop was driven by plunges in certain groups of people, including heterosexuals, with a 35 percent decline since 2005; black women, with a 42 percent decline; and people who inject drugs, 63 percent.

In Freddie Gray's Baltimore, The Best Medical Care Is Nearby But Elusive

Feb 15, 2016

The Baltimore health system put Robert Peace back together after a car crash shattered his pelvis. Then it nearly killed him, he says.

A painful bone infection that developed after surgery and a lack of follow-up care landed him in the operating room five more times, kept him homebound for a year and left him with joint damage and a severe limp.

"It's really hard for me to trust what doctors say," Peace said, adding that there was little after-hospital care to try to control the infection. "They didn't do what they were supposed to do."

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